When we first enter recovery, it’s new and exciting – unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before. Living life in sobriety after wasting years on addiction is exhilarating, and we want more. But what happens after the novelty of recovery wears off? Complacency in recovery is not uncommon, but can become dangerous if you let it take control. To me, complacency is the enemy of recovery.
I have direct experience with the dangers of complacency. It has happened twice throughout my recovery. When I first got sober at the age of 25, I was very involved in the recovery community in Cleveland and loved being sober. I had a young sober network and was very active in AA. I went back to school and got my degree in social work and my addiction counselor certification. I had a great sponsor who walked me through the 12 Steps, I had service commitments, and I went out of my way to help suffering addicts and alcoholics. I also had fun! I went to sober dances, clubs, AA conventions, and Founders Day in Akron, Ohio.
I started working at a treatment center for women and their children. I spent most of my time working. When my sponsor moved to Florida, I didn’t bother finding a new one and justified not going to meetings by telling myself that I was working with addicts all day. I became complacent.
After 7 years clean, I started using drugs again. I was worse than ever in no time. I lost my job and my apartment and ended up homeless and pregnant with a raging crack addiction. The Department of Children and Families took my daughter away. To get custody of her, I had to get clean — eventually, I did. I jumped back into recovery and developed a new sober network in Connecticut. I loved being a mom. I worked full time to support my daughter and I. I got married to my running buddy who also got clean, and we had another daughter. I stayed sober for 19 years and raised two great kids while staying active in AA. But in 2018, I had surgery and was prescribed pain meds, both my parents and two dogs died in very close succession, and I fell into a depression. I stopped going to meetings and fell away from my sober network. My recovery took a backseat. I felt I “got this” and didn’t need to go to meetings or connect with my friends in the program. Eventually, I picked up a drink and was quickly back to using crack – my drug of choice.
This disease is progressive, and soon I was using and drinking daily. Thank God my husband and my best friend, who is 30 years clean, intervened and found a spot for me at Mountainside. Mountainside was perfect for me because of its emphasis on mind, body, and spirit. I benefited from yoga, meditation, the sweat lodge, and a camping trip. I was also able to treat my depression. Now, I’m very involved in my recovery. I have a new sponsor, and I’m actively working the steps. I’m in therapy and working on dealing with my grief. I know I can’t become complacent and need to treat my disease daily. I can’t stay sober on yesterday’s sobriety.